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49ers: General Manager John Lynch express confidence in Hufanga ability to return to his game-changing status this season

On “49ers Talk,” insider Matt Maiocco sits down with 49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead to discuss the defense as a whole, what has and hasn’t been working, and how the unit can rally down the stretch.

Eight games into San Francisco’s 2023 NFL regular season, Talanoa Hufanga has looked like a shell of his 2022 NFL Pro Bowl self.

With just two interceptions and questionable tackling, the third-year NFL safety knows he has to be better during the 5-3 49ers’ second half of the season.

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Luckily for Hufanga, 49ers general manager John Lynch is in his corner, expressing confidence in the USC product’s ability to return to his game-changing status this season during an appearance on KNBR’s “Murph and Mac Podcast” featuring Brian Murphy and Markus Boucher.

“I think that Talanoa has to understand that you just have to be who you’ve been, and not try to do too much,” Lynch told Murphy and Boucher.

“I think sometimes, as a player, back to when I made my first Pro Bowl, sometimes you think, ‘OK, I got to go to another level.’ ”

Lynch knows best, as he played safety for 15 years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Denver Broncos, earning nine NFL Pro Bowl nods, a Super Bowl win and a Pro Football Hall of Fame induction.

San Francisco’s GM is well aware of Hufanga’s talent and trusts that the player who had four interceptions last season will reappear in the coming weeks.

“Talanoa is a difference-maker when he’s at his best,” Lynch explained to Murphy and Boucher.

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“And we just have to get him back to being his best on a game-in, game-out basis.

He wasn’t bad, but he just couldn’t make the difference that we’re used to. I think he’ll get back on track. ”

So far this season, Hufanga is on pace to match last year’s total of 97 tackles, but he needs two more interceptions to match last season’s total tackles.

Hufanga isn’t the only reason the 49ers have lost three straight games, but his mediocrity won’t lead to wins.

After a Week 9 bye, San Francisco needs to improve its performance across the board.

If Hoofanga can turn things around, he will go a long way toward achieving that goal.

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